Plan to lure megastars to Queensland after Swift snub

With the plan to rebuild the Gabba into an international standard stadium all but buried, Queensland leaders are looking at possibly the next-best thing to lure more megastars and major events to Brisbane.

Suncorp Stadium, which is governed by a series of rules designed to appease people who choose to live near the 52,000-seat Milton venue, could play host to more events with 45,000-plus attendees each year under the proposals.

Brisbane was given a wide berth by Taylor Swift as the pop superstar opted for the MCG and Sydney’s Accor Stadium for the local leg of her global Eras tour, where the capacity at both venues is far greater than anything the Sunshine State could offer.

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Suncorp Stadium is allowed to hold six major non-sporting events each year.

That was temporarily increased to 12 for 2023 and 2024 after the state government decided it would like to “enhance Queensland’s great lifestyle and support local jobs” upon realising “a stream of major international music acts” wanted to tour after COVID.

Now that could be permanent, with the Miles government confirming consultations are underway to do so.

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Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said he supported the change, saying people “don’t want to travel interstate to go to events”.

While leaders refuse to invest in stadium infrastructure, Suncorp Stadium is doing a lot of heavy lifting for Brisbane.

As well as being the preferred venue for major acts — including Pink last week — due to its capacity over other Queensland venues, it also hosts NRL’s Broncos, sometimes the Dolphins and Magic Round, Super Rugby’s Queensland Reds and the Roar in the A-League.

So used is the ground, its pitch was deemed “unacceptable” by Professional Footballers Australia during a Roar fixture in November.

But another proposal being reviewed could add to that.

Suncorp Stadium plays host to a number of sporting and music events in Brisbane each year. Credit: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

A change to the definition of a “major sporting event”, the number of which is capped at 24 per year at Suncorp Stadium, from 35,000 attendees to 45,000 is also being considered in a bid to attract more such events.

Meanwhile, the plans to rebuild the Gabba for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics remain under review by the government-commissioned Graham Quirk, the former Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

Premier Steven Miles, the Australian Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee member John Coates have indicated their support for alternatives to a Gabba rebuild.

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